15 January: First Sun eclipse 2010 and New Moon

The first solar eclipse of 2010 occurs at the Moon’s ascending node in western Sagittarius. An annular eclipse will be visible from a 300-km-wide track that traverses central Africa, the Indian Ocean and eastern Asia (Espenak and Anderson, 2008). A partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow, which includes eastern Europe, most of Africa, Asia, and Indonesia (Figure 1). The annular path begins in westernmost Central African Republic at 05:14 UT. Because the Moon passes through apogee two days later (Jan 17 at 01:41 UT), its large distance from Earth produces an unusually wide path of annularity. Traveling eastward, the shadow quickly sweeps through Uganda, Kenya, and southern Somalia while the central line duration of annularity grows from 7 to 9 minutes. For the next two hours, the antumbra crosses the Indian Ocean, its course slowly curving from east-southeast to northeast. The instant of greatest eclipse [1] occurs at 07:06:33 UT when the eclipse magnitude [2] will reach 0.9190. At this instant, the duration of annularity is 11 minutes 8 seconds, the path width is 333 kilometers and the Sun is 66° above the flat horizon formed by the open ocean. Such a long annular duration will not be exceeded for over 1000 years (3043 Dec 23). The central track continues northeast where it finally encounters land in the Maldive Islands (07:26 UT). The capital city Male experiences an annular phase lasting 10 minutes 45 seconds This is the longest duration of any city having an international airport in the eclipse track. When the antumbra reaches Asia the central line passes directly between the southern tip of India and northern Sri Lanka (07:51 UT). Both regions lie within the path where maximum annularity lasts 10 minutes 15 seconds Quickly sweeping over the Bay of Bengal the shadow reaches Burma where the central line duration is 8 minutes 48 seconds and the Sun’s altitude is 34°. By 08:41 UT, the central line enters China. The shadow crosses the Himalayas through Yunnan and Sichuan provinces Chongqing lies directly on the central line and witnesses a duration of 7 minutes 50 seconds with the Sun 15° above the horizon. Racing through parts of Shaanxi and Hubei provinces, the antumbra’s speed increases as the duration decreases. In its final moments, the antumbra travels down the Shandong Peninsula and leaves Earth’s surface (08:59 UT). During the course of its 3 3/4-hour trajectory, the antumbra’s track is approximately 12,900 km long that covers 0.87% of Earth’s surface area. Path coordinates and central line circumstances are presented in Table 1. Partial phases of the eclipse are visible primarily from Africa, Asia and Indonesia. Local circumstances for a number of cities are found in Table 2. All times are given in Universal Time. The Sun’s altitude and azimuth, the eclipse magnitude and obscuration3 are all given at the instant of maximum eclipse.

This is the 23rd eclipse of Saros 141 (Espenak and Meeus, 2006). The family began with a series of 6 partial eclipses starting on 1613 May 19. The first annular eclipse took place on 1739 Aug 04 and had a maximum duration just under 4 minutes. Subsequent members of Saros 141 were all annular eclipses with increasing durations, the maximum of which was reached on 1955 Dec 14 and lasted 12 minutes 9 seconds. This event was the longest annular eclipse of the entire Second Millennium. The duration of annularity of each succeeding eclipse is now dropping and will dwindle to 1 minute 9 seconds when the last annular eclipse of the series occurs on 2460 Oct 14. Saros 141 terminates on 2857 Jun 13 after a long string of 22 partial eclipses. Complete details for the 70 eclipses in the series (29 partial and 41 annular) may be found at: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEsaros/SEsaros141.html Complete details including many tables, maps and weather prospects can be found in the NASA 2010 eclipse bulletin (Espenak and Anderson, 2008) and online at: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEmono/ASE2010/ASE2010.html Finally, a web-based zoomable map of the 2010 annular eclipse path is available plotted on Google maps at: eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEgoogle/SEgoogle2001/SE2010Jan15Agoogle.html

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